Saturday, March 24, 2012


Apparently, it's the season for grèves in Martinique.  The French are notorious for going on strike, and Martinicans are no different.

Last Friday was the start of a grève at the gas stations.  Here, there are workers that pump your gas for you.  Well, they're tired of their low wages and poor work conditions, so they went on strike.  I had heard rumors before it started, but I wasn't too worried; they had gone on strike once before a few months back, and it only lasted a few days.  Plus, there were still some stations that had stayed open.

Well, I underestimated the power of the grévistes.  Almost all the stations closed, and the ones that didn't quickly ran out of gas over the weekend.  By Monday, my tank was nearly empty, and I couldn't find a single station with gas.  I was stranded at my house, unable to go to work (or anywhere for that matter).

Finally, on Thursday morning, Joelle texted me as her bus passed a gas station in Schoelcher where a truck was getting ready to deliver gas.  Only 4 cars were in line.  I jumped out of bed and busted my ass down to the station.  By the time I got there, only about 10-15 cars were ahead of me in line, and the pumps weren't open yet.  I waited 20 minutes before the pumps opened, and only 5 more before I was able to fill up.  It's typical to wait hours in line to get gas during a grève, so I felt incredibly lucky to be in and out within a half hour.

57 euros and a half hour later, it felt amazing to have a full tank of gas

With a full tank of gas, I was feeling pretty confident that I could make it through this grève.  Until last night.

Now there are rumors spreading of the possibility of a grève générale starting Tuesday.  Back in 2009, there was a grève générale, where almost everything on the island shut down for a month.  Schools, grocery stores, everything.  And now it's possible that it's going to happen again.

Everyone is rushing to the grocery store to stock up, just in case.

As for me, I'm going snorkeling...